ISSN: 1477965X
First published in 2003
3 issues per volume
Volume 12 Issue 2-3
Cover Date: December 2014
Parasite in the system: Self-reflexivity in emerging network culture
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Authors:  Wayne Reddiar 
DOI: 10.1386/tear.12.2-3.415_1

Keywords
self-reflexivity,systems art,autopoiesis,paralogic,‘Strange loops’

Abstract
This article aims to provide an account of self-reflexivity through recent debates that pertain to thinking about contemporary network culture. It focuses on the shifts from the mechanistic to the organic, and then towards the post-organic, pertaining particularly to current debates around an understanding of systems and structures. Although it employs a wide variety of disciplines, ranging from philosophy to mathematics, this article traces the lineage from modern art towards thinking about systems. This work is part of an ongoing research objective that is directed towards practice-based research, particularly aimed at art practice that seeks to intersect with emerging network thinking and culture. One of the intentions of this article is to consider the account of self-reflexivity towards the implication of a ‘system as the medium’ in contemporary art practice, which is found in the writing of Francis Halsall. The research is part of an agenda that seeks to explore the conditions of production in contemporary culture, as a supplement to practice-based research. This article frames the debates around self-reflexivity through the chapter entitled ‘Strange loops’ by Mark C. Taylor, which is found in his book The Moment of Complexity: Emerging Network Culture (2001). It traces the lineage that Francis Halsall provides in his book Systems of Art: Art, History and Systems Theory (2008), and seeks to provide an account of self-reflexivity towards his consideration of the system as medium, found in the chapter entitled ‘Systems aesthetics and the system as medium’. In this chapter, Halsall provides an inclusive account of the medium that arguably covers the extent of contemporary art practices, through his contribution to system aesthetics.
The account of self-reflexivity introduced in this article follows a parallel pathway to some of the major points in Halsall’s development of the system as medium. These include the ontologically stable modernist art object; the impact of cybernetics and information theory on art practice and discourse; and art that seeks to intersect with the environment.
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